Thursday, April 30, 2015

#Review: Xavier: St. Griswold College For Abandoned Boys by EM Cooper #Kindles, #atozchallenge, #Middlegrade, #YABooks

In the first book of the Xavier series, Xavier Jones, an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy is abandoned at St Griswold College deep within the mysterious Mourn Forest. As the world changes outside the school walls, evil brews at St Griswold. Xavier discovers the school and its inhabitants have strange customs and dark secrets. Everything he knows and believes about the world shifts. 

He befriends Ethan and Gabe, an eccentric new arrival. Through them he discovers humour, hope and courage–and the first stirrings of his abilities. In a magical world teeming with angels, demons, shape shifters and the Darklaw, the boys meet Beth, a young seer from Ambrosia. Using their abilities and devices, the teenagers must discover who they can trust among those they meet including the ethereal Boundary Keeper, a vain messenger angel and a magical watchmaker. Together the young friends journey across a country infiltrated by sinister forces in the hope of saving the children of Griswold. They witness the terrifying First Strike, a celestial battle between angelic and demonic armies, and Xavier learns of his destiny and a frightening prediction. 

My review:
I enjoyed the fantasy that took place throughout the entire book. This pitted young teens against time and the forces of evil. This book was a rush for me as I often waited with abated breath hoping that the perils that faced the kids would end up in their favor.

The book seemed to start out slow but it was also needed in order to get a feel of these very diverse characters. Nothing is at is seems and the oddities and situations are unreal but, that is what a good sci-fi/fantasy type book would be like.

The twist at the end made me exhausted and disappointed as I realized this book is the first in a series but I suppose that means I need to read the next book. 

When is it coming out? 5 stars

Disclosure: I purchased a Kindle copy of this book for my own collection. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:


Monday, April 27, 2015

#Review: We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen/ Illustrator Helen Oxenbury #Kidsbooks, #atozchallenge,

We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one.

Will you come too? 

My review:
This has to be one of my favorite all time books for children. In my years as a preschool teacher, Mom, and now, Grandma, I have read this book many times and yet, never reviewed it.

I absolutely love the repetitive nature of this book. In two sittings of reading this book on the same day, my granddaughter has already memorized some of the repetitious lines. 

I read this book with actions for each item the family comes to. It is enjoyable to see children do those same actions as the book is read. We even go on our own "bear hunt!" I love, love LOVE it! 

The illustrations are fun and colorful and children can easily see what the family is coming up on next. The twist at the end of course is priceless.

The copy I have now is the 25th anniversary edition which includes a soft not-so-large bear with it. Fun! This is a must have book for any household or school to have.

Disclosure: I purchased this book for my own collections. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:
Michael Rosen


#Review: Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by Joam Holub and "Brad Bucks" #atozchallenge, #Kidsbooks

"Brad" explores the ups and downs of van Gogh's life and art in this colorful report, featuring Brad's funny cartoons alongside reproductions of classic paintings like Starry Night.

My review:
This was a very different book than I have read previously from this author. This comes from a series of books about artist. The book is written like a book report that a child would give which was interesting in itself. It was also written in first person as the "child" sees van Gogh.

I liked that the book gave a thorough view at the artist life from the time he was born to the time of his death. One page even showed the artist as a young boy. The book mentioned his brother and how he got along with this sibling. Kids could compare their own relationships with their own siblings.

I also like the book pulled no punches when it came to van Gogh being poor or even how he so tragically died. These things are important truths for this author and give accurate portrayal for children.  I do caution reading this book to a younger child as this may be difficult for a younger child to grasp. Older children just might have questions that can easily be discussed.

The illustrations were cute and fantastic at the same time. The "book report" illustrations were done in crayons drawings with cartoon like characters but this was juxtaposed with the real life paintings of the artist.

Overall, I liked this book and gets an "A" from me which equal out to be 5 stars.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for my open and honest opinion the views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:

Joan Holub

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook

Sunday, April 26, 2015

#Review: The Universe Verse by James Lu Dunbar #atozchallenge

The Universe Verse is a scientifically-accurate rhyming comic book about the origins of the universe, life on Earth and the human race. It introduces and illuminates the most fundamental features of our existence in a way that is engaging and accessible to a wide audience, including young children. This book contains most major scientific milestones known to humanity, all in one rhyming comic book. Including, but not limited to: energy, space, time, the four fundamental forces, matter, particles, atoms, elements, fusion, stars, E=MC2, supernovae, galaxies, planets, solar systems, Earth, planetary crust, atmosphere, water, life, variation, reproduction, survival, evolution, cells, DNA, genes, sex, biodiversity, the food web, bacteria, photosynthesis, extinctions, respiration, eukaryotes, endosymbiosis, chloroplasts, mitochondria, multicellular organisms, tissues, organs, perception, nerves, brains, aquatic, terrestrial, flying creatures, fossils, dinosaurs, mammals, primates, humans, consciousness, language, agriculture, civilization, math, writing, books and science!

My review:

I was not sure what the book was going to be like but I was expecting the book to be scientific which translated into possibly boring. I was very wrong in that assessment!

I have to say that I was very impressed with this book right from the start. I suppose I missed the whole "verse" part of the title. Indeed, the book is written entirely in verse which is no easy task when you think about the fact this book begins where there was no form of the worlds. I was seriously amazed!

What makes the book even more special is the illustrations are done in comic book form lead by two characters, male and female, one of which looks very much like Einstein. Is that intentional? Yes, it is very scientific but not at all boring.

The first half of the book is all in black and white which adds to the idea that the universe was forming and it took a long time. The second half is all in color which again speaks to how the universe was formed.  

I enjoyed this book immensely for all of the reasons above. In addition, the book is much larger and a bit heavier than I expected. This in itself added to the book, after all, the book is about the universe!

If you are a person who believes in the biblical formation of the universe then this is not the book for you. However, if you believe in a scientific explanation and want to teach it to your children, then I highly suggest this book and no other. 

This book gets 5 stars from me.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for my open and honest opinion. As I have mentioned before with other books I have reviewed, I am open to different thought processes on a variety of subjects. This review is 100% my own and reflects my views solely based on the book and not on any particular believe system.  The views expressed here may not reflect your own. ~Naila Moon  

Where to find the author:


#Review: The Three Lost Kids & The Death of the Sugar Fairy by Kimberly Kinrade #atozchallenge, #kidsbooks

Join the Three Lost Kids for another adventure as they're attacked by Sugar Bugs, face their fears in Cavity Cave, and battle giant Gummy Bears, all to save a dying Sugar Fairy who holds the fate of Halloween in her hands. 

Can the girls learn to work together, each using their strengths to save the day, or will their fighting trap them in Sugar Land forever?

My review:
I have read children's books from this author before and one other from this series. This particular book is based around the holiday of Halloween, which appeals to the kid in me. 

I love how the author weaves fantasy, myth, and real life into a tale that pops out perfect. As with the author's other books, she has a moral to tell and one hopefully kids will learn well. In this book the moral is if you eat too much sugar and do not take  care of your teeth, you will not only be sick but your teeth will rot. Eat things that are healthy for you and naturally sweet!

The other idea children can pull from this book is that sometimes, we need to take care of others as well as ourselves even if that means facing fears to accomplish the goal. Being kind and generous is a plus and rewards come in the form of different ways that is not necessarily money or praise.

The other thing I love about this author is that she uses her own children and canine as the characters in her stories. I am sure they delight in seeing themselves in her books as I know that I delighted in reading about them and their awesome adventures.

This book and series is a winner for me. 5 stars!

Disclosure: I purchased a Kindle copy of this book. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:

(note: this author writes over several genres)

Friday, April 24, 2015

#Review: The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah #atozchallenge, #Kidsbooks, #review,

Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what's that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them?

The smallest things can pull us apart-until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference. In a glorious three-page gatefold at the end of the book, Salma, Lily, and all their classmates come together in the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance.

My review:
This book is what I would call semi-multicultural as the children in the book come from different cultures. The foods that each eats reflex their individual culture. However this book is more than that. It is about accepting people for who they are and learning something about  other cultures and how people are the same in some ways but different in others. All in all, that we are just people.

Kids will certainly get these concepts. The book does address things like bullying and racism but in a gentle sort of way. These things are happening today and kids may see these things reflected in the book. This book could certainly open the gateway for conversation and understanding.

I loved this book and think it should be read in every classroom and home. Moreover, I think we as a people should maybe take some notes from this book.

5 stars!

Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book for my own collections. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#Review: Rodeo Red by Maripat Perkins/Illustrated by Molly Idle #atozchallenge

Rodeo Red and her hound dog Rusty are happier than two buttons on a new shirt… until Side Swiping Slim shows up. Red is sure that anyone who hollers that much will be hauled to the edge of town and told to skedaddle, but her parents seem smitten. When that scallywag sets his eye on Rusty, Rodeo Red had better figure out a way to save her best friend in all the world. Can she make a bargain with a varmint?

My review:
Nothing is harder on kids than when another kid comes into the family, worse yet, to take toys! This is the case for Red when she gets a new baby brother who takes her beloved hound dog.

I enjoyed watching Red try to figure out how to get her toy back even though she ended up in time out aka a jail cell which was the kitchen chair. The solution does eventually falls in her lap but it is the ingenuity that helps her.

The book is written in a western kind of vibe complete with roping things and riding on a horse of the rocking variety. The book is told in first person by Rodeo Red who speaks in a western language. For example: wrestling up some grub and Slide Swiping Slim, the varmint. It is all very cute and a unique way to write.

The illustrations are done in such a way that they give the old west kind of feel which adds to the book. Rodeo Red is dressed in cowgirl outfit right down to her boots.

I would recommend this book be read with a parent who has a new child in the house. Children will get the concept of the book but may need some direction in what is appropriate behavior.

All in all, this book gets a 4 star from me and a ye-haw!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:

Monday, April 20, 2015

#Review: Queen Quail is Quiet by Erika Barriga #atozchallenge #Kidsbooks, #review

My review:
This book is a basic ABC book mixed with tongue twisters. I am not sure the tongue twisters work for such a book. It seems younger children would be frustrated. The premise is that older children would like the tongue twisters, which may be true , but the twisters were short and again, this is an ABC book.

I was not overly impressed with the pictures either. Although they are drawn well, I felt that they maybe should have been in brighter colors to catch the attention of a younger child. An example is when the bear is wearing boots they should have been bright compared to the rest of the bear. 

Overall, this was an ok book which is why I am giving it 3 stars but I have seen much better ABC's books and this one was not a winner for me.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#Review: The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy/ Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney #atozchallenge, #kidsbooks, #ReadingRainbowBooks, #CorettaScottKingAwards, #Multicultural

Tanya's grandmother is making a special quilt with pieces of clothes from the whole family.

But when she gets sick, will Tanya be able to finish the quilt for her?

My review:
This is a beautiful story about an art that is slowly fading. It is the art of quilt making which was once commonly done in families but is now disappearing as new generations do not want to learn how.

The grandmother in the story is wise as she teaches her grand-daughter the art of quilt making, she also teaches her how they can tell stories. Each piece tells the story of an individual in the family. Tanya learns this lesson and helps her family learn it too.

I loved the inter-generational workings of this family. Grandmother was depicted as someone who should be valued for her wisdom and ideas. She was someone who knows the stories of her family and the value in knowing those stories.

Another underlying message here is that there are times when families should take the time to cherish the things they have and that sometimes, those things are obtained by hard work and dedication. This is a lesson that we as a whole could learn from and maybe we need to return to as a society.

The book is full of line drawings that show facial expressions well. The background colors are done in muted browns, whites, grays, and yellows  that gives the reader a sense of age but yet colors pop off the pages from the clothing and quilt. I love this juxtapose. 

If everything in this review is not enough to convince you to purchase this book, then know that this is a Reading Rainbow Book and won the Coretta Scott King Award. It is well deserved.

5 stars!

Disclosure: I purchased this book for my own collection. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours.

Where to find the author:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#Review: N is for Nonslense by A.J. Cosmo #kidsbook, #atozchallenge

What’s a boy to do when he meets a monster that makes no sense?

The last few nights at home, Peter McBrody had been accused of doing all sorts of strange things. Floors had been painted with flour, bed linens had been eaten, and milk floated in the sink.

"It's not me," Peter said.
"Then who do you suppose did it?" asked his mother.
"A monster?" Peter said, not sure if that made any sense.
"There are no monsters," his mother replied.

Peter was certain monsters were real. After all, he had one. His monster loved things that didn’t make any sense and if he didn’t figure out how to get rid of it, he’d be grounded forever.

What would you do?

My review:
It is not so unusual for children to make messes but when someone or something else is making it, what are they to do?

This was a fun quick read. I enjoyed how the author described this very crazy, "nonsensical" creature that only the character Peter seemed to see. It did help that his best friend finally saw it too and the ironic way they tried to get rid of him.

The one thing I did find sad was that Peter's Mom did not believe him or even pretend to believe him. Most adults would not think monsters to be real but with the imaginations of a child, they can be very real. Children need to be believed.

I did like however, that Peter eventually took responsibility to clean up the mess even if his real or imagined monster made the mess and he didn't. Children also have to learn responsibility and often that is one hard lesson to learn.

Terrific book and I give it 4 stars.

Disclosure: I bought a Kindle copy of this book for my own collection. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:


Friday, April 17, 2015

#Review: Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper #middlegrade

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.

My review:
I do not usually read summaries before I review a book but this time I did.  I knew a person who has cerebral palsy and thought this might be an interesting read. The story is written entirely in first person from the viewpoint of Melody, the main character.

I thought this was really awesome because although she could not speak, her intelligence was beyond what people would consider "normal". I loved reading her thoughts, her feelings. I felt she should have been in a "regular" classroom from the very beginning. At the same time, I was appalled at the reactions of those who surrounded her and thought she was completely dumb, well, with the exception of her parents, an aide and a neighbor. 

I found these four people to be incredible and who saw Melody as a person first, not an individual with a disability, but abilities. Their interaction with her was wonderful and truly inspiring.

I cheered for Melody when something happened for her that made her life a little better but was heart broken for her as the people in her school treated her with disrespect.

Melody is an amazing person and if she had not been totally fictional, I would have loved to have known her.
The author's writing skills were top notch and I was able to immerse myself in the world of her characters. This is a must read for all middle grade children.

5 stars and a huge trophy for Melody that she so deserved! If you want to truly know what I mean, get a copy of this book right away. You won't want to put it down.

Disclosure: I won a copy of this book for my collections. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours.

Where to find the author:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#Review: Moonstruck:The True Story of the Cow That Jumped Over the Moon by Gennifer Choldenko #atozchallenge

The horse seriously doubts that the cow will ever be able to jump over the Moon but offers respect and admiration when the determined bovine accomplishes that feat.

My review:
The summary for this book does not even measure up to the hilarity of the book itself. The book is told from the viewpoint of a horse. This horse thinks Mother Goose did not give the cow enough credit when she wrote the tale.

You see according to the horse, who happens to be coach and captain of a team  who all jump the moon every night. This cow hangs around and thus learns to jump too even though the horses see it as impossible.

Even though I know the fairy tale well, it was fun to read this book as an expanded version of the tale. It was hilarious to see the cow practice but eventually make the team and thus jump the moon with a flair that no other could have.

Kids will enjoy the mostly brown, white and blue pictures with funny character drawings that enhance the book. Kids will find the whole thing absurd but also get the idea that persistence and hard work pay off over time.

This book gets 5 stars from me as it is truly...mooooving!

Disclosure: I purchased this book or my own collections. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#KidLitBlogHop Number 58 & Twitter Party...Come join us! #KLBH #atozchallenge

Kid Lit Blog Hop

**Hello everybody! If you have come by here from the A to Z Challenge, welcome to the hop. I will have the letter "M" up by this afternoon so, please come back by. While you wait, check out the awesome kid lit books that everyone posts about. This hop happens twice a month.

If you are here from the Kid Blog hop welcome back. I am still doing the A to Z Challenge this month. In case you don't know, on this blog I am doing all kid lit book reviews. I am having fun doing that but boy, it is certainly challenging! Peruse around and see if you find some books you like. Also, I do have some giveaways going on so, enter in those if you want.

I hope to get around to everyone soon. I failed pretty miserably on my last go around but I promise to get better again. Welcome everyone and Happy Reading! ~Naila Moon**

Welcome to the 58th Kid Lit Blog Hop where we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists. So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors! This week, we are excited to be including a Twitter Linky Party to be held in conjunction with the Kid Lit Blog Hop. These linky parties are designed to give you the opportunity to connect with and grow your network of fellow kid lit bloggers, authors, and parents through your various social media platforms.  


Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Julie Grasso, Author/ Blogger

Cheryl Carpinello, Author / Blogger

Stacking Books


Pragmatic Mom

Reading Authors

The Logonauts

A Book Long Enough

Spark and Pook

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!


Kid Lit Blog Hop & Linky Party Rules *Please Read*

1. LINKY PARTY: Add the link to your Twitter profile page in the Twitter Linky Party list below. Be sure to visit at least the two links directly before yours, say hello and retweet a post and follow folks as per your interests. If you do not have a Twitter profile, you are welcome to link up a different social media profile (Pinterest, Facebook, etc.). 2. KID LIT BLOG HOP: Link up any Kid Lit related post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post.*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one. Please link unique posts each time ~ no repeats please. *
* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*
3. KID LIT BLOG HOP: Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS from the Kid Lit Blog Hop directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you! 4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you're linking up. If you'd prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links! 5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!



(***Please do not link a blog post here - see below for the Kid Lit Blog Hop***)


#Review: Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen/ Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes #atozchallenge

Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren't any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

My review:
There are so many things to love about this book. First of all is the absurdity of a huge lion being in a library to begin with and then expected to not be loud. Children are sure to giggle at the site to seeing the lion.

Next is the whole idea how everyone is expected to behave and the rules of  a library including the lion.While I was growing up, I knew the rules about being quiet but enjoying the story times and the books. Obviously, what is not to love about a book loving lion.

Finally though, the idea that even though everyone should follow the rules for certain things, that sometimes, they just have to be broken to either help someone else or yourself.

My grand-children and I read this book together and when the part came where the lion roared, my grand-children roared real loud which made me laugh but the listened intently to the whole book. 

The book is a wonderful read and a sure-fire read for story times! 5 stars a quiet roar! *wink*

Disclosure: I won a copy of this book for my collections. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author:


Monday, April 13, 2015

#Review:Kids Want To Know About Mysterious Places by J.W. Patterson #atozchallenge

Discover facts and opinions about some of the most mysterious places in the world. Did you know that actors making the movie "Gettysburg" in 2003 had an incredible ghostly experience? Did you know that the Bigelow Ranch in Utah has been the scene of reported crop circles, UFO landings and ghosts? 

Kids will learn what is known and not known about many mysterious places. Are these places really where strange happenings occur? Kids can make their own minds up about them. 

My review:
When I was a kid, I was fascinated about all sorts of things, in fact, I still am.  I would look up things in the encyclopedia or even the dictionary until I was satisfied with what I had found. To even find photos or maps of places was even a bigger deal. I often even perused National Geographic.

What the author has done here is taken all of those wonderful mysterious places and put them in one book. Awesome! I enjoyed that he wrote about some of the places I am still curious about like Easter Island, crop circles, and Stonehenge. 

He introduces theories of different people including the idea of aliens. I did find the different places to be told in brief so, more investigation might be warranted after the initial introductions.

This book is targeted for kids as young as 9 years old up to 18 year old's. There is no doubt that adults would like this book too. I did! This is one in a series of different discovery books.

I give this book 4 stars.

Disclosure: I purchased a Kindle copy of this book for my own use. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours.

Where to find the author:


Sunday, April 12, 2015

#Review: Journey by Aaron Becker #atozchallenge, #Kidsbooks, #Caldecottt

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire?

My review:
This book is one of the most incredible, truly picture book, I have ever seen. The colorful drawings are bright and absolutely gorgeous. The bit of red that comes from the girl's marker helps the viewer to keep abreast of the story line which is clear and concise.

I enjoyed following along with this girl's journey as she finds new discoveries, peril, and finally friendship. I was breathless as she moved from page to page.

This book was a Caldecott Honor book for 2014 and to me it is well deserved. This is a must for any book shelf no matter what the age.

This gets 5 stars from me without any reservations.

Disclosure: I won a copy of this book. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Naila Moon

Where to find the author: